A rare brown and white panda has been adopted after being bullied as a cub by other animals.
The unusually-coloured bear, Qizai, lives at the Qinling Giant Panda Research Centre in north-western China’s Shaanxi Province but this week he was adopted by US-based charity Pandas International.
Qizai became the world’s only brown and white bear living in captivity after being found by researchers as a two-month-old cub in a nature reserve in Qinling Mountains in central China. It’s thought the little bear’s mum had disappeared into the jungle.
Check out Qizai in action here:
The researchers took the cub to the nearby Shaanxi Rare Wildlife Rescue, Breeding and Research Centre for medical treatment but his keeper, He Xin, told the MailOnline other pandas would bully the new arrival by eating his bamboo.
Now 10 years old, Qizai is said to have grown into a ‘strong’, ‘active’ animal.
Though the bear will continue to live in China, Pandas International will be given access to visit him and will receive regular updates about his life.
— Xinhua Culture&Travel (@XinhuaTravel) November 21, 2019
The Giant Panda Research Centre decided to give Pandas International the opportunity to adopt Qizai as a sign of appreciation to the charity, which has been donating vaccines, lab instruments, baby panda cribs and milk powder to the center and helping with its daily work for a number of years.
Pandas International was co-founded by Suzanne Braden and Diane Rees in 2000 and aims to ensure the preservation and propagation of the giant panda.
On Wednesday, November 20, the Giant Panda Research Centre held a ceremony to celebrate Qizai’s adoption.
The 10-year-old bear’s unusual coat is thought to be the result of a gene mutation. Panda scientists attempted to find more about Qizai’s genes by mating him with a black and white panda but the mating did not result in pregnancy.
Katherine Feng, an American vet and member of the International League of Conservation Photographers, explained brown and white pandas have only been seen in the Qinling Mountains.
The Qinling Mountain pandas are considered a different sub-species from those found in other mountain ranges.
It is suspected that the brown and white colouring of pandas has a genetic basis, possible a result of a double recessive gene, a combination of genes or a dilution factor gene. Qi Zai’s mother was black and white.
There have only been a handful of sightings of brown and white pandas since 1985, when the first one was discovered in the Qinling Mountains.
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Emily Brown first began delivering important news stories aged just 13, when she launched her career with a paper round. She graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University, and went on to become a freelance writer and blogger. Emily contributed to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems before becoming a journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news as well as longer form features.